Will Nigerians ever learn from the recent events around the collapse of the Ikoyi Tower? It is no longer news that a tower currently undergoing construction in Ikoyi, Lagos, collapsed some days ago, trapping people under its debris.
According to reports, the Deputy Governor of Lagos State, Obafemi Hamzat, made some remarks on the building. He said the building, which collapsed on Monday, had been sealed for four months. He paid a visit to the scene of the accident on Tuesday, and said the project had been shut down from July to November.
He made a lot of remarks, which included the state of the people trapped under the building.
According to him “This is now a search and rescue operation and our mission is to get people out of here. This morning we took out two people and they are doing well in the hospital. Totally we’ve taken nine people out and they are in the hospital and some have been discharged and we’ve sadly taken out 10 dead bodies.
The operation as you can see is going on and we will not leave until we are able to account for everybody. We are responsible for the people of the state, our focus is on saving lives.
As a matter of fact, this place was sealed for about four months sometime last year from July to November because our agency came in to do structural test and saw some anomalies and shut it down and said those things should be corrected.
The other two buildings will also be audited in terms of integrity test and of course if we see anything, appropriate actions will be taken. They were making corrective actions when this happened. At the time this happened, they were not really constructing but investigations later will show what really happened.”
This particular building that collapsed was approved for 21 floors three years ago not 15 floors, it’s the construction that failed apparently.”
After the news of the sad event took its wings to everywhere, the company which started the project – Prowess Engineering Limited – indicated through a public disclaimer, that they had withdrawn themselves from the construction of the project since February 2020. Their reason for this, being that they no longer shared in the same vision with its client. They constructed the other two towers, but abandoned the third one, being the collapsed tower, because they couldn’t vouch for the structural integrity of the building from anything above the fourth floor.
Nigerian property developers need to stop compromising basic standards in construction. A man once fired an Architect for advising him not to go beyond the second storey, since the foundation was exactly for a two-storey building. He ended up securing the services of another corrupt builder, who couldn’t tell him the truth. The building collapsed immediately he added another two floors to the existing one.
This client had to pay compensation to the families of the four workers trapped under the building when it collapsed – they died. But the Ikoyi story is different, because the client was on site when it happened, and was trapped too. He could also be dead by now, since a search is still ongoing.
Nigerians should learn to accord respect to professionals in different fields, and stop looking for shortcuts all the time!
The Town Planning Authorities and other agencies involved in seeing to the authenticity of a building’s drawings are also becoming corrupt in their inspections too. They see a building with incomplete drawings, and collect bribes from the client. Instead of making them understand that it can’t be approved, they end up making money from the said investors who think they’re smart by ignoring standards.
It’s a pity that other innocent souls had to be involved in this predicament.
By the time this is over, intending owners of structures will have to understand that apart from listening to the advice of professionals, corruption is a bad thing.
Written by: Edward Amah